Archive for June, 2010




for over 20 years, photographer Phyllis Galembo has chronicled the costumes of West African countries with a portable studio…


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“View from the Window at Le Gras (La cour du domaine du Gras)” taken with a camera obscura, is the world’s first photograph…


Long before the first public announcements of photographic processes in 1839, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, a scientifically-minded gentleman living on his country estate near Chalon-sur-Saône, France, began experimenting with photography. Fascinated with the craze for the newly-invented art of lithography which swept over France in 1813, he began his initial experiments by 1816. Unable to draw well, Niépce first placed engravings, made transparent, onto engraving stones or glass plates coated with a light-sensitive varnish of his own composition. These experiments, together with his application of the then-popular optical instrument, the camera obscura, would eventually lead him to the invention of the new medium.

In 1824 Niépce met with some degree of success in copying engravings, but it would be two years later before he had success utilizing pewter plates as the support medium for the process. By the summer of that year, 1826, Niépce was ready. In the window of his upper-story workroom at his Saint-Loup-de-Varennes country house, Le Gras, he set up a camera obscura, placed within it a polished pewter plate coated with bitumen of Judea (an asphalt derivative of petroleum), and uncapped the lens. After at least a day-long exposure of eight hours, the plate was removed and the latent image of the view from the window was rendered visible by washing it with a mixture of oil of lavender and white petroleum which dissolved away the parts of the bitumen which had not been hardened by light. The result was the permanent direct positive picture you see here—a one-of-a-kind photograph on pewter. It renders a view of the outbuildings, courtyard, trees and landscape as seen from that upstairs window.

listed by Life magazine as one of the “100 Photographs that Changed the World” it was exhibited in 1898 and then forgotten — in 1973, the University of Texas acquired the plate and it’s now on display at the Harry Ransom Research Center



the films of WILLIAM KLEIN…



Klein’s first feature — a film Stanley Kubrick described as ten years ahead of its time…

Kubrick saw Polly Magoo in his private screening room.  Then he wrote me a letter saying that the film was ten years ahead of its time, that he related to it very strongly, and that he felt we had a great deal in common.  I was very pleased by this letter.  I was just getting ready to do “Mr. Freedom”, and I wrote back immediately, saying that I was trying to raise money for my new film.  And never got an answer!

– William Klein 1988

“WHO ARE YOU POLLY MAGOO?” 1966 directed by William Klein

once impossible to find, now part of Criterion’s box set “The Delirious Fictions of William Klein” along with “Mr. Freedom” and “The Model Couple”…

(quote excerpted from a conversation with Johnathan Rosenbaum, “Cinema Outsider: The Films of William Klein”, Walker Art Center 1989)




one of the best documentaries you’ll ever see…


Trailing a platoon of U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan, “Restrepo” is a nerve-jangling work of “you are there” combat correspondence. It’s also being pitched as the first apolitical war documentary of the post–9/11 era. Named for the platoon’s fallen medic, and for the outpost that the soldiers erect in his memory, Restrepo adopts the grunt’s p.o.v. through battle and boredom alike, eliciting sympathy for young American men fighting — and sometimes dying — half a world away from home.

If that tack sounds, well, political, the filmmakers — Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, veteran war correspondents who repeatedly risked their own lives for the movie — would much prefer to call it something else.

“Left-wing people — and I include myself among those people — tend to have this idea that war is the expression of some kind of modern ill, of civilization gone wrong,” says Junger by phone from Houston, where he’s promoting his book WAR, the film’s companion piece. “But the politically incorrect truth is that war is extremely ingrained in us — in our evolution as humans — and we’re hardwired for it. I think our movie communicates that in some ways.”

It’s no wonder that Restrepo, which opens this week, is being distributed by National Geographic. The film plays like a documentary study of the human animal in his natural state — war being how homo sapiens display the survival-of-the-fittest principle that’s also central to other species.

“The most important thing for us was to make an honest film,” says Hetherington from his Brooklyn apartment. “After many years of war reporting, we’d both gotten to the point of wanting to see people in war not as symbols or illustrations but as people. Often, war reporters gloss over things. Sebastian talks about that in his book, about how reporters try to deny the excitement of war, when the fact is that war is exciting. We thought, ‘Let’s just show what’s going on out there and not editorialize.’ ”

Restrepo eschews voice-over narration and keeps intertitles to a minimum, but it’s not exactly cinema vérité. When the soldiers fly by helicopter into the Korengal Valley — known among grunts as the “Valley of Death” — there’s Afghani music on the sound track. (Welcome to hell, boys.) When the survivors of the platoon finally leave the Korengal, some 15 months later, to recuperate in Italy, they’re interviewed by the filmmakers, whose point-blank shooting catches the men’s every twitch and hollow stare.

Restrepo alternates between the traumatic and the posttraumatic, so we’re reassured throughout that at least some of the soldiers will survive. Nevertheless, the film imparts a stressful experience, in part for our having gotten to know — and quite possibly like — the men. Gentle, baby-faced Pemble grew up the son of a “fuckin’ hippie” who once took his squirt gun away. Cortez reports with a curious smile that sleeping pills don’t help his insomnia or his nightmares. After a firefight with the Taliban, a bulky shooter named Steiner says, “That was fun. You can’t get a better high. It’s like crack.”

Junger, whose dozen years of death-defying journalism in Afghanistan have made him no stranger to adrenaline, says that an even stronger narcotic for Steiner and his platoon buddies is the buzz of social inclusion. “For a 19-year-old to feel necessary as part of a small group of men, to have a completely clear identity and a reciprocal duty to those around him, that’s intoxicating: ‘I’m one of the two 40-gunners on weapons squad, and my job is to shoot.’ When a young guy builds his identity around that, and then comes home, where he’s just another 19-year-old, why would some part of him not want to go back into combat? That’s where he was functioning at his highest level, where he had the clearest understanding of who he was.”

Do the filmmakers feel similarly actualized when they’re on the battlefield? “You can put me in a really difficult situation, and I will make good images for you,” says Hetherington, a photojournalist who “got into the business of conflict” in 1999, when he was sent to cover the civil war in Liberia, and has mostly remained in the theater of operations ever since. “It’s a weird skill set that I’ve mastered,” he says. “I make images under pressure.”

“My first war was Bosnia,” recalls Junger. “I was a failing freelance writer and waiter. I was 31 and felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. I wanted to prove myself in some ways. War is often seen as a rite of passage by young men. There was that appeal. When I got to Bosnia, the work was completely intoxicating. It’s very intense to be covering combat, and I definitely feed off that intensity.

“In Bosnia, I was beside myself. I couldn’t believe that I was in this role of communicating to the rest of the world something of great urgency that was going on around me. It’s important work, and I’m stunned and delighted that I’m good at it. It’s nourishing to me.”

Like the band of brothers they filmed, Junger and Hetherington had mixed feelings when their own tour of duty finally came to an end: “After being elbow-deep in editing for most of a year, it was exhilarating to finish the movie,” Junger reports. “But at the same time, there was an incredible sense of loss.”

(LA WEEKLY  6.24.10)

find the entire review here

“RESTREPO” 2010 directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington


the world’s highest tennis court…


the photo’s real, the grass is not…

that’s Andre Agassi and Rodger Federer high above Dubai at the hotel Burj Al Arab on the world’s highest tennis court…

at almost 700 feet who’s could concentrate on a game..?

check out the video — at about 4:30 they start firing firing balls off at the unfortunates below…

meanwhile, “Real Tennis” — the game from which all racquet sports evolved — dates back to the Renaissance and is much more down to Earth…

played on an asymmetrical 90′ x 40′ court, the scoring is similar to tennis — but Real Tennis uses a cork-based ball, way less bouncy than a modern tennis ball, and a very stiff racquet with an angled head… only 47 courts still exist — in the U.K., Australia, the U.S., and France — all of them at ground level…





according to billionaire entrepreneur Robert Sillerman — who four years ago spent 100 million bucks on the lion’s share of Elvis Presley’s estate — the BBC reported in 2002 that IRS information indicates 84,000 people in the U.S. claim “Elvis impersonating” as their job…

in other 84k news…

The Republic of Seychelles is an island country 932 miles east of mainland Africa with a population of 84,000, the smallest of any African state…  (WIKIPEDIA)

The National Statistics Office will engage the services of 84,000 additional personnel to help in the conduct of the 2010 Census… (BUSINESS MIRROR 5.16.10)

The Wyoming Dept. of Environmental Quality says cleanup continues after a pipeline break caused 84,000 gallons of crude oil to spill in the Bridger Valley…  (BILLINGS GAZETTE 4.25.10)

The White House says President Obama’s stimulus bill was responsible for 84,000 jobs during the first quarter of 2010…  (STAR NEWS 4.16.10)

On July 25, Singapore will host its largest synchronized mass-walking event, which will involve 84,000 residents…  (ASIAONE NEWS 4.5.10)

The Australian Crime Commission has released figures showing police arrested 84,000 people in relation to illegal drugs last year…  (ABC NEWS 1.8.10)

Companies in the U.S. cut 84,000 jobs in December, according to data compiled in the ADP National Employment Report…  (BLOOMBERG 1.6.10)

Last week 84,000 new cases of the swine flu virus were reported, as experts predicted another spike as the weather gets colder…  (THE TIMES 11.10.09)

Britain’s government confirmed that it lost a digital memory device containing information on 84,000 prisoners, every inmate in England…  (MSNBC 8.22.08)

the “84,000 Buddhas” at the Ichibata-Yakushi temple in Japan, represent the 84,000 ideas which pollute the mind and body…


life in the Anthropocene…


remember when you could find a parking space, no problem, or get a sun-tan and not worry..?  well, now, as the world goes bankrupt, 95 year old scientist Frank Fenner — AC, CMG, MBE, FRS, FAA, and the  man who eradicated smallpox – says it doesn’t matter, the human race will be extinct in a hundred years anyway…


Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, has warned that the human race can not survive. As the scientist who helped eradicate smallpox he certainly know a thing or two about extinction. And now he predicts the human race will be extinct within the next 100 years, unable to survive a population explosion and “unbridled consumption.” “Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years” Fenner said. “A lot of other animals will too. It’s an irreversible situation. I think it’s too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.”

Since humans entered an unofficial scientific period known as the Anthropocene – the time since industrialisation – we have had an effect on the planet that rivals any ice age or comet impact. Last year official UN figures estimated that the world’s population is currently 6.8 billion. It is predicted to exceed seven billion by the end of 2011. Fenner blames the onset of climate change for the human race’s imminent demise. “We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island” he said. “Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we’re seeing remarkable changes in the weather already. The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years. But the world can’t. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we’ve seen disappear.”

Professor Fenner’s chilling prediction echoes recent comments by Prince Charles who last week warned of “monumental problems” if the world’s population continues to grow at such a rapid pace. And it comes after Professor Nicholas Boyle of Cambridge University said that a “doomsday” moment will take place in 2014 – and will determine whether the 21st century is full of violence and poverty or will be peaceful and prosperous. “In the last 500 years there has been a cataclysmic ‘Great Event’ of international significance at the start of each century” he claimed.

Retired professor Stephen Boyden, a colleague of Professor Fenner, said that while there was deep pessimism among some ecologists, others had a more optimistic view. “Frank may well be right, but some of us still harbour the hope that there will come about an awareness of the situation and, as a result the revolutionary changes necessary to achieve ecological sustainability.” Another esteemed academic, Professor James Lovelock, warned that the world’s population may sink as low as 500 million over the next century due to global warming. He claimed that any attempts to tackle climate change will not be able to solve the problem, merely buy us time.

(DAILY MAIL  6.19.10)

this only means more room for space people




the man behind legendary SF punk outfit and Grateful Dead cover act, Joe Pop-O-Pie celebrated his 51st birthday this year by putting the band back together for a few shows at the Warfield in SF…


photo by Hugh Brown


Joe Pop-O-Pie is the mad genius behind the pioneer punk band: Pop-O-Pies. Joe and crew started off their career in San Francisco (Joe’s originally from New Jersey) by playing their cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Truckin’” over and over … A one song show—that became a must-see act in the Bay area. Soon enough, however, Joe added new tunes to the play-list, including one of the best Beatles covers I’ve ever heard: “I am the Walrus.” His song “The Catholics Are Attacking” is one of my all-time favorite songs. I mean, it’s right up there with “Havana Affair” by the Ramones and “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by the Dead Kennedys. It’s that good. Joe was also the first singer for the band Faith No More—until they got that guy that sounds like he sings with balloons in his mouth. Other Faith No More alumni have played and recorded with Joe as well as members of Mr. Bungle.

BRAD: When playing 40 minute sets of “Truckin’” or extended plays of the repetitious and somewhat hypnotic “Fascists Eat Donuts” I imagine crowds became a little unglued at times. Describe the most extreme crowd reaction your band inspired.

JOE: Oh m’gosh, there are so many … but ummm lemmy see, that would have to be Long Island, NY on the 1st Pies tour in February, 1983. I think I still have a recording of it somewhere. We had just played our 3rd “Truckin’” and then launched into “Fasicists Eat Donuts” (the 1 chord song). For some reason I had wandered off over to the bar and some gal offered to buy me a drink. Being the diplomatic guy that I am, I felt it only polite to hang out with her for at least the duration of the drink. At that point, some guy with a Black Flag T-Shirt and matching tattoo got up and took over the microphone and started to make up his own lyrics. He said: “Play sumpin’ different. Play sumpin’ different. Play sumpin’ dif-fer-ent.” Almost as soon as that started, the Club DJ started a rapping war with the guy over the PA system while the instrumentalists were playing. The DJ’s stuff was real clever and the Black Flag guy’s stuff sounded really dumb. It was an EXCELLENT contrast. It was so entertaining that I proceeded to spend the remainder of the show at the bar, taking in this great piece of entertainment. It got to a point where it was so frenzied that the whole place was continually chanting “Make those donuts with extra grease, this batch is for the Chief of Police” while the rapping dual was going on. It wasn’t your typical punk rock show turned riot, it was more like an insane asylum that got a hold of a bag-a-speed. This went on for a while. It was getting more and more hypnotic, when all of the sudden the power went down. The lights, sound, everything. It just went pitch black and quiet like a big THUD! Pretty intense.

B: Who were your contemporaries? Flipper? The Dead Kennedys? Did you play gigs with other 80’s punk bands?

J: Sure, we played with those 2 bands several times and are still good friends with them to this day. And yes, there were many other bands from the classic early 80s punk genre that the Pies played with. Way too numerous to mention them all, but a few that come to mind are: Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Lydia Lunch, Iggy Pop, Glenn Danzig … I’d like to do a “Pop-O-Pies UNPLUGED” band. I think that would be great fun, The Pies have never done anything like that before.

B: Will you record new Pop-O-Pie music?

J: Let’s put it this way, I don’t think I’m going to be able to get away WITH NOT recording new Pop-O-Pie music. I’ve got so many people bugging me about it. I’m just too busy working right now and I’m not the kind of person that can split himself in two: be creative & work a straight gig at the same time. I’m not that schitzy. The mind sets are in direct conflict with one another. When I try to do something like that, usually both suffer. It’s a disaster. But recently, Klaus Fluoride and I recorded a track for this Punk Rockers Unplugged compilation. It’s called “Go Contrary, Go Sing.” It’s on the Made In Brooklyn label. The compilation features, members of the Dead Boys, DOA, MDC, Iron Cross, and many more … all doing acoustic versions of one of their punk rock classics. The one Klaus and I did is my “A Political Song.” It’s a sort of Burt Bacharach meets Frank Sinatra version of it.

B: I heard you were a classical composition major in college. What are some of your favorite classical pieces of music?

J: The theme from Star Wars and anything by Steven Foster.

B: What are some of your non-Pop-O-Pie punk favorite songs?

J: Wow!, that’s a huge question which I could fill a couple of volumes with. It’s like asking me what kind of food I like to eat. There are some REALLY obscure things that I think are works of genius that have fallen into complete obscurity over the years or were never even heard by lots of people. There was a band called “Middle Class” from Los Angeles, CA. They only put out one 45 RPM 7 inch with 4 songs on it (back in 1980) the 2 songs that stand out were “Out of Vogue” and “Insurgency” but they were all great! This stuff is a MUST HEAR. It isn’t fast enough for hard core not slow enough for “tempo de early Ramones.” That’s why it’s so fuckin’ awesome. It’s like watching that old video of Little Richard doing “Lucille.” It’s not quite 50s rock and roll tempo yet and it’s a little too pushy for a 40s R&B tempo. In short what I’m trying to say is, in both of the above described cases, you are witnessing the birth of a new genre. That’s why Middle Class was such an exciting band. BUT does anybody even know them?! Fuck no! SAD. Some of the best stuff I’ve heard never even made it to vinyl (or CD). Middle class ROCKED! To this day I still think it’s one of the best early 80′s punk rock records ever put out. I wonder what they’re doing now? But as a side note to all of this, when you look back at music of an era, it’s actually very difficult to get into the frame of mind of the time, when listening to it. Which makes a lot of difference as to how you hear it. The reason for this is, in the back of your mind, you are already aware of what came after it, so that taints the excitement of it somewhat. So listen to some Pablo Cruise and Journey and THEN listen to early 80s punk rock and you’ll be a little closer to the correct mindset.

B: Tell us something new that no one has ever heard about Joe Pop-O-Pie.

J: I got a vasectomy back in 1990 because I knew I could never afford to have children. That’s still true. Also, the Pop-O-Pies were actually a big influence on Kurt Cobain. He wrote favorably about the Pies in his now published Diaries which you can buy.

B: Give us a rant. What are you pissed off about?

J: Lately we’ve been reading a lot about Global Warming in the news. Some articles that I’ve read on the subject were blaming Cow Flatulance as the major contributor to Global Warming. A recently article on the front page of “The USA Today” stated that, according to the experts at Johns Hopkins and the Center for Disease Control the REAL culprits when it come to Global Warming are in fact HUMANS! May I read between the lines here? Look, it’s simple, people just need to stop farting so much and only then can we nip this Global Warming thing in the butt. Avoid Cabbage and garlic religiously. Save the Planet!


read the entire interview here

the line-up for the reformed Pop-O-Pies includs drummer Nino Moschella, Kurt Heydt on guitar and Klaus Flouride on bass…

for a taste of “Joe’s Greatest Disasters” and the “Pop-O-Pies Anthology” — go to POP-O-PIE.COM


Lakers 83, Celtics 79…





the unlikely making of a classic…


In 1961 Paramount Pictures’ publicity department attempted a remarkable acrobatic feat. It tried to explain why Holly Golightly — the professionally adorable heroine of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” a woman who stayed out all night and regularly accepted $50 gratuities from sundry gentlemen friends — was actually squeaky-clean. “Since Miss Audrey Hepburn has never played any part that has suggested she was anything but pure, polite and possibly a princess,” said one desperate press release, “a hard look at Miss Golightly is in order.”

Sam Wasson’s “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.” is willing to take a fond and incisive look, if not Paramount’s self-importantly tough one. This alluring little book is devoted to the contradictions that pervade “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”: the contrivances that kept it so frothy, the weirdly backhanded feminist message (Holly was certainly free spirited) and the unusual place occupied by this sprite, her evening gown and her 5 a.m. Fifth Avenue Danish in the history of American film.

Having already written the evocatively titled “A Splurch in the Kisser” about Blake Edwards, who directed “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Mr. Wasson is well positioned to spin off this love letter to one of Mr. Edwards’s most atypical projects. Known at the time for the sleek television style of “Peter Gunn” and “Mr. Lucky,” Mr. Edwards wound up using the over-the-top madcap comedy for which he would be both cheered (the “Pink Panther” films) and jeered (“The Party”) to mask what was actually going on in even this watered-down version of Truman Capote’s story.

Mr. Wasson’s book is filled with anecdotes about just how confounding “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was from the start. A reader at Paramount took the crucial first look at Capote’s book and pronounced it “not recommended.” The role of Holly Golightly was deemed too sexually outré for Marilyn Monroe. (“Marilyn Monroe will not play a lady of the evening,” her acting coach, Paula Strasberg, said.) And in one more bad decision that is immortalized here, Paramount’s head of production felt that Henry Mancini simply wasn’t up to the job of composing this movie’s theme song. Mr. Mancini and the lyricist Johnny Mercer managed to get “Moon River” (originally “Blue River”) into the film and win their Oscars anyway.

With knowledgeable verve that brings to mind “Frankly, My Dear,” Molly Haskell’s superb monograph on “Gone With the Wind,” Mr. Wasson approaches his subject from many angles. His book winds up as well-tailored as the kind of little black dress that “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” made famous. And, yes, there’s lots to say here about that dress’s widespread influence. Audiences used to brightly costumed homebodies and Doris Day-type career girls were in for a big, chic, liberating surprise when Holly and her elegant simplicity came along.

Since she looked so smashing, why was Paramount issuing statements like this: “The star is Audrey Hepburn, not Tawdry Hepburn”? Because the studio was petrified, and its confused, hamstrung public statements reflected that alarm. “Let’s face it, now: what is a kook?” one such document inquired. A kook was a headache, especially when embodied by a girlish star who was understood to be demure no matter how much her movie character’s behavior indicated otherwise.

Hepburn had been thoroughly uncontroversial a few years earlier. (“Audrey’s Advice: Have Fun, Let Hubby Wear the Pants,” read a 1957 newspaper headline.) But she had begun to grow up since then. The making of “Sabrina” involved a pitched battle between the director Billy Wilder and the writer Ernest Lehman about whether the romance between Hepburn’s character and Humphrey Bogart’s would be consummated.

But chastity wasn’t an option with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Both Holly and the story’s male lead were, at best, cockeyed romantics; both were being paid for their services and neither was a babe in the woods. So this story would be over in a single scene if its plot hinged only on seduction. It had to be about two people who yearned for a new kind of fulfillment, and that made “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” a new kind of romantic comedy, Mr. Wasson says: “Not one about 1950s people who shrink from sex before marriage, but one about modern people who embrace it.”

In addition to its larger points, “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.” is crammed with irresistible tidbits. Mr. Edwards actually fell to his knees to beg the film’s producers not to cast George Peppard in the male lead. Mickey Rooney’s grotesque performance as Holly’s buck-toothed Japanese neighbor (he pronounces her last name Go-Right-Ree) would later haunt one of those producers when he was invited to a dinner party by Akira Kurosawa. Mel Ferrer, Ms. Hepburn’s husband, had a wet-blanket effect on the production in general and his wife in particular. After a preview screening of the film for which she would become most famous, he was heard to remark, “I liked your hat.”

And for all its romantic associations with New York City, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” involved only about a week’s worth of location shooting. Most of it was shot in California, where Hepburn — then a brand-new mother, despite her sylphlike shape — relocated to Coldwater Canyon. According to Mr. Wasson, “Audrey plunged into knitting.”

(NY TIMES  6.13.10)

“FIFTH AVENUE, 5 A.M.” 2010 (Harper Studio) written by Sam Wasson

“BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S” 1961 directed by Blake Edwards




just in time for the finals, the Havana, Cuba based art collective of Marco Antonio Castillo Valdés and Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez, Los Carpinteros, has created “Free Basket” — an installation for the 100 Acres Art & Nature Park

opening this month adjacent to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 100 Acres is one of the largest art parks in the country — in addition to Los Carpinteros, it features Atelier Van Lieshout, Type A, and Andrea Zittel…


Free Basket is a full-size basketball court, broken by red and blue arches that illustrate the path of  bouncing balls and may allude to Indiana’s history of shifting Republican and Democratic values… “It’s an endless game — with every bounce the geography of the game changes” says Rodríguez.  “No one wins” Sánchez adds, imagining the court will be a paradise for skaters “this place can be used for anything — except basketball”…



a digital camera obscura…


bringing the magic of pure analog to the binary realm, german photographer Felix Hardmood Beck has developed a couple of versions of a camera obscura that feed directly to your hard drive…

pinhole diameter determines sharpness of image…

for more projects go to Hardmood Beck




squares bewares — LACMA will present a screening of Rhino Films‘ new documentary “Robert Williams: Mr. Bitchin’” next week…

look for the theatrical release this fall…

“ROBERT WILLIAMS: MR. BITCHIN’” 2009 directed by Mary C. Reese


robots on the moon…


there goes the neighborhood…


An ambitious $2.2 billion project in the works at JAXA, the Japanese space agency, plans to put humanoid robots on the moon by 2015, and now official backing from the Prime Minister’s office says the Japanese could have an unmanned lunar base up and running by 2020.

As currently envisioned, the robots that will land on the lunar surface in 2015 will be 660-pound behemoths equipped with rolling tank-like treads, solar panels, seismographs, high-def cameras and a smattering of scientific instruments. They’ll also have human-like arms for collecting rock samples that will be returned to Earth via rocket. The robots will be controlled from Earth, but they’ll also be imbued with their own kind of machine intelligence, making decisions on their own and operating with a high degree of autonomy.

Those initial surveyor bots will pave the way for the construction of the unmanned moon base near the lunar south pole, which the robots will construct for themselves. That base will be solar powered and provide a working/living space future robot colonizers, as well as — presumably — a jumping off point for future human moon dwellers.

Sound far-fetched? It’s certainly an ambitious project given the timeline. But considering Americans put actual men on the moon in a decade span with far inferior technology it certainly seems within the realm of possibility. Moreover, the massive technological fallout from that initial push for the moon was a boon for private industry, seeding some important and amazing technological breakthroughs. Even if Japan falls short of its 2020 deadline, the advances in robotics technology that could fall out of this little project could be as exciting as the moon base itself.

(POPSCI  5.27.10)




D.K. is the best artist…


This show was inspired by a project archiving Kramer‘s productive twenty-year career of art making. His practice began in the time-honored traditions of painting and sculpture, expanded to include the live performance of concrete poems, which further evolved into the text-based drawings that he is best known for.  Kramer rounds out his art production as director, set designer and star of a number of videos, which has lead to the creation of elaborate gallery installations. This introductory survey reaches as far back as 1989 and presents a selection of work that highlights the radical, multi-disciplinary nature of Kramer’s creative process.

opening tomorrow night at Armand Bartos Fine Art — 25 E 73rd, NYC…




from the house that Elvis built…

the annual event opens friday on the very stage where The King had his eight year run, playing 827 consecutive sold out shows attended by over 2.5 million people (thank you very much)…

featuring shorts, foreign films, docs, animation, music videos, TV pilots, a screenplay competition, pool parties, VIP events and more…

6.4- 6.6 @ the Las Vegas Hilton — for info go to The Las Vegas Film Festival


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